Close
Close

How to Name Your Next Blog Product

This guest post is by Greg McFarlane of Control Your Cash.

Here are some sample products, most of them ebooks, that I recently saw available for sale and/or free download on some popular blogs:

  • “Ten Steps To A Better Golf Game”
  • “Creating Your Personal Life Plan”
  • “How To Make Money Online”
  • “23 Gluten-Free Recipes For You And Your Family”

Alright, I lied. I made up some of the titles, but I defy you to tell me which.

What do each of these titles have in common? Not much. Just dreariness of the first order, that’s all.

I’m repeatedly amazed at how so many bloggers can have scintillating information to share with their readers, and then, when it comes time to ask those readers to commit additional time and or money, opt for the uninspiring.

The act of buying your blog product involves minimal expenditure of your readers-cum-customers’ energy—just a few clicks are required. It takes almost no effort for them to buy. But it takes even less energy for them to ignore what you’re selling and move onto the next, flashier thing. So be that flashier thing.

Your product might have amazing and helpful content, but I’ll never know that if I can’t make it past a dull title that doesn’t compel me to buy.

Swap generic for specific

Take the first example above. If you’re a golfer, there isn’t a magazine, instructor, nor smug low-handicap playing partner on the planet who hasn’t offered to improve your game via one method or another. Of course your readers want to improve their game. That’s what golfers do! In fact, it’s all they do. Even Rory McIlroy would like to find a way to shave off a fraction of a stroke.

So here’s a blogger with a legitimate offer, presumably, yet he gave it as generic and unexciting a name as possible.

To create a worthwhile title, one that gets readers’ attention and compels them to act, you have to tailor it. Quantify. Be specific, not general. Swagger a little bit. Regarding our example, here are some ideas:

“Never 3-Putt Again”

The bane of the weekend player. Nothing’s more frustrating than sweetly swinging one’s way onto the green in regulation, only to end up bogeying. A title like this resonates with its audience, who can immediately empathize. Granted, it doesn’t say a word about wood and iron play, but being specific (obviously) requires you to omit certain stuff.

Or if that title doesn’t strike your fancy, how about:

“Don’t Toss Your Bag In The Ocean Just Yet”

Again, every golfing reader has been there and done (or certainly contemplated) that. “I was this close to selling my clubs on Craigslist and taking up pottery instead. But you’re saying I might not have to?”

Speak to your readers

This goes back to knowing your audience: what they want, what they’re visiting your blog for, why it matters to them. Gently persuading your blog’s visitors to maybe, if they’re not doing anything else, perhaps give serious consideration to possibly buying your products doesn’t work. It can’t. The volume of similar messages is just too overwhelming.

Like it or not, blog products are impulse items. Someone with an itch and a few shekels to spare sees what you’re selling and decides to buy. This isn’t as involved as shopping for a car or a house is.

My blog’s topic, personal finance, is more universal than golf. All of us, from the destitute university student to Gina Rinehart, would prefer more money to less. But if I wrote an ebook titled “Your Money-Making Action Plan”, my site’s online store would be covered with cobwebs.

Instead, I tried to err on the side of snappiness and provocation when naming the products I sell on my blog. They include:

Not to ruin the surprise endings for you—not that there are any, anyway—but “Your Boss Is Smart. You’re The Idiot” is about how to start your own business and, by extension, stop having your employer be the primary beneficiary of your toil.

Meanwhile, “The Unglamorous Secret to Riches” is about how to find underpriced stocks with the potential to appreciate. Which is done by the decidedly prosaic means of perusing financial statements: looking at balance sheets and their ilk with a critical and discerning eye. The activity itself is somewhat mundane, but on a per-hour basis it can pay handsome rewards.

Titles that touch a nerve

With the first title, I again empathize with readers, and touch a particularly sensitive nerve. Most of us have, or have had, bosses whose judgment we’ve questioned. We think, “I could do that easily. Why aren’t I in the corner office?” Well, here’s why. And maybe you don’t want to be in the corner office anyway. It just means that there’ll be one fewer level of management on top of you.

But if you start your own business—taking the necessary precautions beforehand, having the requisite capital available, and knowing which forms to fill out—you can enjoy the self-determination that you’re missing out on in your current and unfulfilling employee/employer relationship.

Titles that buck the trend

With the second title, I turn the idea of a “get rich quick” scheme on its head. Most of my personal finance blogging contemporaries also write for-profit products that ostensibly teach readers how to build wealth. But those bloggers seldom do more than tell those readers to clip coupons, hold yard sales, downsize their living quarters, etc.

Few bloggers in my realm tell their readers, “Here’s what to do with your savings. Forget about building an emergency fund. Instead, buy stocks. But not just any stocks, and not just well-publicized ones. And here’s the truth—there’s nothing exciting about the groundwork involved in doing this. It involves dry columns of numbers that you’ll have to decode the meaning of. But as boring as that sounds, if you want to make additional money, it beats the heck out of taking additional shifts at work. The excitement comes in the future, when the investments you bought (and that everyone else ignored) finally start to increase in value.”

Create a difference that sticks

With tens of thousands of blogs in existence, the tendency is toward homogeneity. Right now, without exaggeration, I could find you a thousand “mommy” blogs that all say essentially the same thing: here are some foods you should never feed your kids, here are some Halloween costume ideas, here are some unsubstantiated threats to children’s safety that I’d nevertheless like to blow out of proportion and share with you.

It’s hard enough to find a unique, singular voice in a crowded marketplace as it is. But by giving your products names that stick in your readers’ minds, you’re giving yourself a crucial point of differentiation.

Greg McFarlane is an advertising copywriter who lives in Las Vegas. He recently wrote Control Your Cash: Making Money Make Sense, a financial primer for people in their 20s and 30s who know nothing about money. You can buy the book here (physical) or here (Kindle) and reach Greg at [email protected].

Did Sandy Affect Your Blog?

Last week’s Hurricane Sandy really had am impact on those in the United States.

Sea

Image courtesy stock.xchng user piuse

While obviously it affected those in the East most of all (thankfully, I was holed up, safe in my hotel in New York City; so many others were not so fortunate), the connectedness of the US to the rest of the world meant that the implications of this storm stretched not just across the country, but all over the globe.

This was particularly true for industries that rely on technology—from Wall Street to the blogosphere.

Here at ProBlogger, we noticed a significant flattening of traffic in the days leading up to the storm. This, I expect, was the result of readers in areas expecting the storm heading offline to get prepared.

Sandy traffic

Ordinarily,  we’d have seen an upswing on that day. Here’s what the same days in the previous week looked like:

Typical Monday

Whilst we all know that the web brings us closer together, it can come as a surprise to see that your little old blog is impacted by a weather event on the other side of the world. If this is how it impacted my blog, I can only imagine how it affected local businesses in those areas—even those who managed to survive the storm physically, and keep on serving customers.

These kinds of traffic blips are something we might be used to seeing around festive times of year, though. Here’s what happens to ProBlogger traffic in a typical December, as most of our readers (in the US, the UK and Australia) gear up for Christmas and New Year:

December traffic

We might be tempted to think that the Web soldiers on regardless of what’s happening in the world, but the truth is that the web is a critical part of the world. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Events like these can impact traffic, sales, signups, social networking opportunities, and so on.

The good news is that as the events pass, and people’s lives return to normal, they’ll want to get back into their old routines—including seeing what they’ve missed online.

Depending on where you’re located, and where your target readers live, a range of events—local or global—could impact your blog. It’s important to remember that sometimes, our readers have more important things to worry about.

Did Sandy affect your blog—either because your readership is located in the Eastern US, or because you were one of the millions caught in its path? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

8 Rules You’ll Need to Become An Editor’s Go-To Writer

This guest post is by Thomas Ford of www.123Print.com.

Whatever stage of development your blog is in, it’s useful to consider the elements that characterize a good blog writer. Perhaps you’ve recently begun accepting guest posts. What are the criteria that inspire you to publish or make the call to reject a post?

Even if you’re just getting started and authoring all of your own posts, don’t publish just anything. Learn to self-edit, and you’ll be far more likely to please future editors when you begin posting elsewhere and seeking other outlets for your writing.

If you get to the enviable place where an editor or blogger is paying you for your words, it’ll be due to both your insightful sharp wit and your ability to make their life as easy as possible.

To keep the paid work flowing your way (or even if you’re just blogging for yourself and slowly building an audience), stick to these tried-and-true rules of the road.

1. Don’t turn in typos

We all know that you’re working on deadline, but clean copy is paramount to pleasing an editor. Don’t push yourself to the wire, to the extent that you’re literally skipping the reread to get your copy in on time.

Once you’ve spent hours (or even days) with a piece, it can feel like a chore to read slowly through it, line by line, but it’s the only way you’ll catch the tiny errors that can chip away at an editor’s trust in your grammatical skills.

2. Try to sleep on it

This can be tough, I know, but do your best to arrange your writing calendar to allow yourself a day between writing a piece and posting it or turning it in. It’s amazing the clarity that a day can provide. Even when I feel like a post is perfect, revisiting my words the following day always turns up something I can improve upon.

3. Meet your deadlines

Being a professional writer or blogger often boils down to self-discipline and time-management. Design your schedule in a way that affords you the time to follow rules 1 and 2, while still always meeting your deadlines.

If you miss a deadline early in your relationship with an editor, you may have blown it already. Once you’ve proven yourself, most editors will provide you some leeway now and then, but being late should always be the exception to the rule.

4. Seek feedback

A good blogger loves to collaborate and offer input to writers working on a post for their site. Seeking feedback and direction during the researching and writing process is also a fantastic opportunity to build a relationship.

If you discover a new angle for a post, don’t hesitate to reach out to an editor or blogger before completing your writing. The perspective they provide may lead to more posts down the road, and will almost always strengthen the blog you’re working on.

5. Offer strong headlines

Often, bloggers will replace headlines by a guest poster with a phrase that better fits the direction of their site. Even if this happens to you on multiple occasions, don’t stop providing headlines with each post. Your title helps an editor understand the direction of your piece, even if they recreate it in their own words.

6. Answer follow-up questions quickly

Editors and bloggers are busy people. Even if they take a week to get to your post submission, once they do read it, they’re going to want quick answers to their questions.

Make a point to prioritize these emails and calls when they arrive, providing quick edits, clarifications, and rewrites as requested. The easier you are to work with and the more promptly you respond, the more likely it is that you’ll find repeat work with that blogger.

7. Be careful talking money

It’s amazing how some editors will reply within seconds to emails about content, yet any question about payment is met with silence. Work out your payment arrangement and schedule in advance, before writing your post. Give bloggers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to sending payment, and then some.

If you’re depending on payment from a particular post to pay the bills this month, you may need to seek out further employment and save some money before trying to make it as a writer. When you’re not dependent on fast payment, it’s easier to be patient, and editors will respond in turn with more work when you’re not one of the writers that’s always bugging them about money. Most of the time, they’re just busy—they haven’t forgotten.

8. Be a self-promoter

Whether you’re writing for your own blog or submitting a guest post, utilize all of your avenues and social media channels to promote your work. Once a post goes live, link to it and spark conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. If there’s a corresponding, compelling image, link to it on Pinterest.

When you utilize your own contacts to draw traffic to a site, editors will take note and appreciate your efforts, returning the favor with new assignments.

What other tips do you have for writers looking to increase their visibility with an editor or blogger? Have any of these ideas worked for you?

Thomas Ford is the Marketing Director of www.123Print.com, a leading supplier of business cards and a wide variety of business and office printing materials. Tom is responsible for the blog at 123print, and writes on a range of topics of interest to bloggers and business people.

Trial by Fire: a Beginner’s Attempt at a Product Launch

This guest post is by Ryan Derousseau of R.M.D. Media.

Unlike most bloggers who share their experience on ProBlogger, I haven’t quite seen the fruits of my labor turn ripe—yet. I only launched my blog on social media and media outreach a couple months ago. I’m a newbie to this whole blogging thing.

My decision to launch the blog fit well with my background, since I work as a journalist and a social media manager. But jumping into a blog of my own meant I had to do more than just write about my niche.

It involved truly marketing my own business, building readership (not just benefiting from a standard readership that I’m used to through the magazines I write for), and developing my brand. I think we all can relate here. It’s a move that has come with some trial and error.

In order to build this brand quickly, I wanted to develop an ebook and offer it for sale. “What better way to jump into the world of creating sales marketing copy and grow readership quickly?” was my thought.

Of course, this meant a bunch of reading and strategizing on how to ensure I had some following before launch, in order to help spread the word of my new product, The Insider’s Guide to PR.

I tried to do all the things that the experts tell you to do: join an affiliate network, find partners to help with promotion, guest post, write a sales page well in advance, and on and on. Along with those tools, I’ve tried some other endeavors—some from experts—that I launched or prepared prior to the ebook release, in order to see the effects I desired. I want to share some of those with you.

But this post isn’t about how effective these strategies were, as I’m not an expert at launching products (it’s my first one, remember). Instead, I’m sharing my experience, to help spark some ideas for you. Maybe this will lead to some other, better, ways to promote your product, which I overlooked.

Tactic 1: Leaking details of my ebook

When I was about a month out from launching my first online PDF, I started leaking tidbits from the book. I did this in order to build buzz and enthusiasm, but also to highlight my expertise, since I was a new blogger.

At first I began to leak ideas that are shared in the book. For example, I wrote a post on the types of media pitching campaigns that a consultant, independent business owner or entrepreneur could use to plan outreach. (This has actually become one of my more popular posts to date.)

These types of posts made for great content for the blog, provided knowledgeable “pillar material that I can use for months and years to come, and were easy to write since I had already developed the ideas in the ebook.

But I went further then that, as I began to have a clear launch date in mind. Once I did, any time I referenced something that would relate to my book, I began to say things like “And you can read more about this in my upcoming guide to PR.” That way, I encouraged the reader to check back, if they had interest in hearing more.

And it worked. About two weeks before my launch, I was at an event hosted by a client, and they asked me about the guide. That was exactly what I wanted to hear!

Tactic 2: Developing a product to encourage newsletter signups

If you’ve delved into building a newsletter list before, then you have heard this over and over again: “You have to offer them something!” So I listened to the shouting, and did.

In my Guide, there are free email templates for pitching the media. I took the ones for pitching guest posts, and turned that into a free offering in order to encourage signups. I then published a blog post announcing the new free offering, which I promoted heavily.

It’s still difficult to just do that and expect a ton of email newsletter signups. After all, if no one sees the post, how can they sign up?

So at launch, I decided to test the effectiveness of this strategy by earmarking a portion of my advertising budget for encouraging newsletter signups. Instead of pointing people to my product, these ads point them to the newsletter. Once they sign up, they receive a copy of my sales site, so they still learn about the book.

The issue with this tactic is that it’s leading to tons of clicks, but few sign ups. While I wish there were more, each one is very valuable, so it has been worth it. But moving forward, instead, I will offer the first chapter of my Guide to see if that entices more opt-ins.

Tactic 3: Offering consulting to encourage new clientele

One thing I wanted to try was to offer a consulting-like service prior to the ebook launch. This idea came from a partner I work with, and I thought it was so great that I put together the offering the day after our conversation.

Unfortunately, it proved ineffective at encouraging signups or promoting my ebook.

And looking back on this, it’s clear to see why. I put together the plan so quickly that I didn’t have time to promote the offering besides a blog post and some tweets (not enough!).

However, I do see the strategy working out now that I’ve launched. Because the service is in place, I don’t have to constantly promote it, but people who are on the site, and looking at possibly purchasing the ebook, can see that I also have this consulting service. They may prefer this service instead, or are simply comforted to see that I also consult. I’m not sure which, but I saw pageviews to my consulting page jump by a factor of eight in the week of launch, compared to the week prior.

That can only mean potential for success down the road. But it also means I can quickly change tactics after the book promotion dies down, to focus on consulting services. It gives me options—something you need at the early stages of a business.

Tactic 4: Sharing the guide free

One thing I did as soon as I launched the guide was send a free copy to anyone and everyone who helped me in some way prior to the launch. This includes partners, mentors, those that I reached out to in order to ask a question, my parents, and others.

I also told them to share the guide with anyone they liked. I did this because I’m not just looking for sales; I’m also looking for readers and newsletter signups.

By offering the guide to those who supported me the most, I provided them with content that they could use to further cheerlead my efforts. That could lead to a number of other opportunities down the road as well. And who knows who in their network can send my pageviews, and sales, flying?

What works for you?

While I’m sure I’ve missed steps in the process, these are the key tactics I tried before my first product launch.

I’d love to hear what you found effective—and what failed—as you launched your first product, second product, or 20th product. It’s a learning process, and there’s no better way than trial by fire. Still, might as well make that fire as dim as possible, right? Share your tactics with me in the comments.

Ryan Derousseau is Director of R.M.D. Media where he provides advice on media outreach and social media. And receive the first chapter of his new e-book by signing up for his newsletter here.

12 Lessons from 4 Inspiring Local Business Blogs

Earlier this week I explained why every business needs a blog. Today I want to show you just how much potential there is for businesses to connect with their customers through a blog.

Spices

Image courtesy stock.xchng user zd

The blogs I’ve chosen here are all for small businesses I know of. I’ve tried to look at local businesses, so most of them are Melbourne-based, though the lessons they teach should be useful for any business thinking of starting a blog.

The bookstore

Readings, a small bookstore chain, has a very frequently updated blog that supports its online store. This makes sense, since new books are always being released, and there’s always something to say about them.

The blog is an important element of this site. Go to the site’s homepage, and it’s all about shopping. But shoppers can buy books online anywhere. As we know all too well here in Australia, price competition on books is a major factor in deciding where to purchase. So Readings augments that offering with personality. As a small book store, they focus on range and catering to the tastes of their specific clientele. Quality reviews are important, as are in-store events and promotions. The blog is an excellent way to support those goals.

Lessons

  1. If your industry is highly competitive, a blog can help communicate your competitive edge to a highly receptive audience.
  2. Take in different aspects of your industry—this interview with a bookseller is a nice way to go “behind the scenes.” It show off the passion that exists in the industry, and inspires a passion in readers, too.
  3. Use posts to subtly inspire readers to purchase. These posts are followed by links to the books by the authors discussed in the posts themselves—a great, logical, unobtrusive tie-in that would certainly boost sales.

The bakery

A cupcake bakery with two outlets, the Cupcake Central blog is interesting in that it’s so light on text.

If you’re not a writer, you could take a leaf or two from this blog. Images play the main role, but as you can see, they also really support the strong branding of the business. This is probably true with a lot of product-related businesses whose physical output is the strongest evidence of their brand.

The blog’s only updated monthly, to focus on recipes, promoting cupcake workshops, and giving attention to seasonal events like Father’s Day. Interestingly, video is also used to supplement the blog content. The posts may be few and far between, but they’re rich with visual interest.

Lessons

  1. Rather than trying to “come up with” content, let seasonal variations and your industry itself guide your posting schedule.
  2. Not a writer? Try video, imagery, or even a podcast.
  3. Let your blog’s design support your branding. Cupcake Central’s logo is echoed in the blog’s post and header design, as well as all the other pages on the site.

The enthusiasts

Probably the least “bloggy” of the blogs we’ll look at in this list is Motorcyclerides, a site that’s been developed specifically to connect enthusiasts—in this case, motorcycle enthusiasts.

It’s not a business blog as such, in that the blog doesn’t support an individual business. But it does support an “industry” of motorbike riders and bike-related businesses. And it’s a really interesting example that many business blogs could learn from.

The blog itself is on the site’s homepage: it’s the list of maps below the header. Each map links to the details of a ride that a motorcyclist can do on their own, or with friends. And each ride (or blog post) is contributed by a rider, rather than made up by the business owners. They’re great rides that actual riders recommend.

This makes the blogging task more about editing and approving content than starting it from scratch‚ and looking at the Suggest a ride form, I wouldn’t expect the site’s owners would need to do too much work to get the content onto the site. Riders can also contribute events to the site.

Lessons

  1. Crowdsource your content to reduce the blogging burden and expand the reach and relevance of your blog.
  2. Find good ways to link provided content that provide the greatest value to users. At the end of each ride listing on this blog, we see links to related businesses, events, and other rides nearby. That’s pretty useful to riders!
  3. Make your blog into a resource for your customers, and they’ll be unable to resist coming back again and again. A great way to build authority in your industry.

The design studio

A small screen printing business in Melbourne, Ink & Spindle runs this blog as part of a larger website.

The site targets “customers”, which in this case means members of the public as well as current and potential stockists of the fabrics that Ink & Spindle make. The blog itself is updated between two and ten times a month, and keeps customers informed of sales and events like open studios. It shows how different designers, customers, and other clients use the studio’s fabrics—which inspires other readers and undoubtedly sparks purchases through the site’s web store.

The blog really helps the studio’s owners promote their brand values: quality, aesthetics, social and environmental awareness, and community involvement. The great thing about this blog is the way it helps the business connect with the people who buy and use its products at a local level.

Lessons

  1. You can easily add a free blog to your existing website, and start blogging for your business in minutes.
  2. If your business’s product or service is visually appealing, use imagery wherever you can.
  3. Bring your customers into the picture with case studies, to inspire others, and reflect your customer focus.

Get inspired about your business blog

As you can see, small businesses in a range of industries and areas are using blogging to promote themselves online. These examples show that you don’t need to be a technical whiz to make this work. You don’t even need a massive online presence.

The main thing you need is a clear understanding of the ways your business meets the needs of customers or clients, and what it means to them. Using that as a foundation upon which to build, you’ll be able to create a strong, unique web presence that builds loyalty and keeps your customers coming back for more.

Are you starting a business blog? Tell us about the challenges you’re facing in the comments.

14 Ways to Promote Your Latest YouTube Video

This guest post is by Jenny Dean of Floppycats.

If you’re like me, you put a lot of time, effort, and thought into your YouTube videos.  Even if you don’t, since YouTube is the second most searched engine in the world (and owned by the #1—Google), there is good reason to make the most of each upload.

Here are the 14 tasks bloggers should do whenever you upload a YouTube video to your YouTube channel.

  1. Add an SEO-optimized title: Your YouTube video title is essential in helping your video be found, so use appropriate keywords.
  2. Add an SEO description: Include a description that isn’t keyword stuffed, but does include your main keywords.
  3. Add your website link to the description: If you have a website or blog, be sure to provide a link back to that.  You can also include links to all of your social media channels.  When posting links, be sure to include the “http” or the “https,” as that’s the only way YouTube can automatically hyperlink it.

    Adding your URL

    Also, be sure that your main link is visible above “the fold”—in other words, above where the Show More section. Most people will not click on Show More, but will click on your main link.

  4. Maximize your tags: so many people do not maximize the number of tags that they can have. Tags are your keywords, and they are critically important to being found. Include any relevant tags. Then, check back in a month or two to see how that particular video is being found—and change out some of the tags that are insignificant. For your long-tail keywords, be sure to include them within quotes, like “Business Blog Writers,” so that they’re searched as single phrases, rather than three separate words.
  5. Post on Pinterest: In August, Krizia taught us How to Add Your YouTube Videos to Pinterest. Note that Krizia also suggests branding every video that you have on your channel because Pinterest allows people to watch the video directly on Pinterest. Unless they have motivation or reason to find out more, most viewers will not click through to your YouTube channel.
  6. Like your video: The number of likes on your video helps it gain popularity, so by liking it, you’re just helping it get the attention of the audience you’re trying to target.
  7. Share it on Facebook: Whether you have a Facebook page dedicated to your blog or website, or whether you just use your personal Facebook profile, you will want to share your video there for people to see.  You never know who they will share it with—this is how many videos have gone viral. If you are posting a video that involves a company, take the time to tag them in the post with the video link.
    Share it on Facebook
  8. Share It on Twitter: As usual, you want to shoot a link to your video out to all your Twitter followers. Be sure to include relevant hash tags and, if your video features a company and its product, then you definitely want to include their Twitter handle in the tweet too. For example, when I upload a product review for Floppycats, I then send out a Tweet like this, “Ragdoll Cats Chow Down on Eden Foods Bonito Tuna Flakes—Floppycats http://ow.ly/cU6Gp @edenfoods #cat #cats”.
  9. Share it on Google+: YouTube is owned by Google and so is Google+. They like each other, so make sure they like your videos too.
  10. Share it on LinkedIn (if appropriate): If your video is business-related and will help your efforts to grow your business, then you certainly want to share it on LinkedIn.
  11. Schedule it to post on HootSuite monthly, for the next year: I like to come up with a Tweet or a Facebook posting for each new video, and reschedule them for release once a month for a year. As a blogger, it shows companies you’re promoting that you are looking to maintain your relationships with them, and also helps an old video enjoy new life every month.
  12. Create a video response: Search for a video that is similar to yours, and rather than writing a comment about it, create a video response that will attract the audience you want.
  13. Write a blog post and embed the video: More than likely you are trying to get Google to love your website and want to put it at the top of their search engine results. So make them love it more by embedding your YouTube videos into your blog posts.
  14. Add it to a playlist: Whether you have already established playlists, or need a new one for this video, add it to a playlist using a relevant keyword from the video.

They’re the essential 14 steps, but are other things to do when you post a video, like adding annotations, asking people to subscribe, and adding transcripts, as Deepak covered in SEO Your YouTube Videos in 10 Steps.

What are some of the things that you do when you upload a video to YouTube?  What would you add to this list?

Jenny Dean is the Editor over at Business Blog Writers, online SEO content writers.  She also runs her own blogs and each of them has a YouTube channel:  Floppycats, Antioxidant-fruits and Guide to Couponing.  Business Blog Writers offers a YouTube enhancement service to help you execute these 14 things to do!

The Blogger’s Guide to Google Authorship

This guest post is by Tom of make-a-web-site.com.

At the 2011 SMX Advanced event, Matt Cutts announced the Google initiative to support authorship markup, or more simply, to give you ownership of your content in the search results.

Let’s start with a definition.

Authorship, in this context, refers to Google’s parameters for making a verified connection between a person’s original web content and their Google Plus profile.

Google created Authorship by developing the HTML markup rel ” author”. When content owners apply it correctly to their content, Google can create the connection with their G+ profile.

Google will then display your profile picture next to your content in the search results. If you’ve set Google Authorship up properly, your search results should look something like this.

Search results

What is rel = “author”?

You’re probably very familiar with the standard linking practice for web content.

link1

Traditionally, the href in a link refers to the attribute or location where the linked content exists.

If you add the attribute rel = “author” to links to your own content, it will associate your ownership—or “authorship”—with the content on the linked page.

This is the first step in telling Google that you are the owner and original publisher of that content.

The new anchor, with Authorship applied, will look like this:

link2

The new markup HTML code rel = “author” is changing the game of search as we know it.

Why is Authorship important?

Google has made it quite clear with the development of Google Authorship that it’s moving away from regarding pure link-building as a factor in web page authority. Your value as an author will come into play more as Google dials down its dependence on basic links.

Another possible effect is that Authorship may increase Google search clickthrough rates. You probably feel that you are naturally drawn to a search result with an image beside it. According to one study, adding Authorship to links increased Google search CTR by 150%.

Implementing authorship on your website

Adding Authorship when making your blog should be standard practice for all webmasters. These are the recommend steps.

  1. Make sure you have a Google + profile. If not, sign up here.
  2. Make sure you have confirmed the email address within your profile. Google wants to make sure you aren’t a robot.
  3. Link your Google Plus profile to your content.The Contributor link

Now, to create the Contributor link in your Google+ profile follow these steps:

    1. Log into your Google+ account. On the home page at the top right, you’ll see the Edit profile button. Click that.Edit profile
    2. In editing mode, click on the About tab on your profile.The About tab
    3. On the About page, scroll down the the Contributor to link, and click on “What pages feature your work?”Featured work
    4. Click Add custom link.Custom link
    5. Type in either your root domain or the page where you content is posted (see the Note below), and label it accordingly.Contributor to

Note: if you are identifying your authorship of the content on your site, link to your root domain name. So in my case it is http://www.make-a-web-site.com.

If you are claiming authorship of a guest post, add a link to the guest post. So, for this guest post example the link would be http://www.problogger.net/google-authorship-get-your-photos-in-the-search-results/.

Finally, let’s link your content to your Google + profile.

Google+ profile link

Make sure you are use the rel = “author” markup in the code of your guest post bio to verify that you are the original owner of the content.

The HTML will look something like this, but make sure you place you Google+ profile address in between the quote marks.

link2

What about guest posts?

For guest posts, it’s important to make sure you have the correct HTML in your bio box. Make sure you are using the rel = “author” markup. No markup, no snippet!

Then, link to that post from the Contributor section in your Google+ profile as I outlined above. The only downside is that you are going to have a lot of links if you are a serious guest poster.

How to test it’s working

To check whether your website or content has been linked to your Google+ profile, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

From the image below you can see that my Authorship of my website content has been verified by Google.

Verified by Google

What Google has to say

Google has posted publicly about this topic. See Google’s head of webspam team Matt Cutts and software engineer Othar Hansson discuss Authorship in the video below.

They provide a very concise introduction to what Google Authorship is, including a whiteboard demonstration, how it works, and what the benefit is for webmasters. They also cover the basics of using authorship for SEO.

Conclusion

Building good relationships is the backbone of good SEO. Authorship allows you to make the most of the high-quality, original content you produce—it allows you to become an expert in your field not only in the eyes of your readers, but in the eyes of the Google algorithm as well.

Although this project has initially been launched as a way to allow your profile photo to show up next to your results, I believe it will become a larger ranking factor in the future. That’s why it is important to start implementing good habits now.

This guest post was written by Tom of make-a-web-site.com. Naturally this article has been rel= “author” to Tom on Google +.

Three(ish) Techniques to Unborify Your Blog Posts

This guest post is by Stephen Guise of Deep Existence.

I’m working on a secret project, and it requires that I read studies. The information from the studies is absolutely fascinating, but they are run through a science machine that sucks the fun and life out of them. The verbose verbiage and dry delivery are brutal on the eyes.

Fiction: people enjoy academic studies for the writing style.

While studies and textbooks have a hidden code that says you must write with the intent to bore, there’s no such restriction on blogs. If your blog is boring, and there is another blog with similar content and enjoyable delivery, you lose. Pack up your keyboard and go home. Unless, that is, you want to unborify it.

In this post, I will suggest three excellent techniques to hold your reader’s gaze. When you type it in Word, “unborify” has a red line under it because all new words face initial resistance. This post has already been through the unborifying process, so I hope you enjoy it!

Three(ish) techniques to unborify your posts

1. Inject humor into bland posts

Humor breaks through stubborn minds, making your content instantly more relevant and accepted. Not only that, but humor is funny.

I like to use the strikethrough jest. It works by inserting a funny, out of place “what if I wrote THIS” word or phrase in a sentence. Then, use strikethrough HTML to cross it out. Readers can see the ridiculous word, but you “fix it” and write the correct words after it, like this…

Michael Jordan plays with his hair basketball.

I am more successful than Darren Rowse several 6th graders.

I’ve noticed that women are hopelessly drawn to me chocolate.

These kinds of comments are laced with self-deprecating humor, which is funny when it’s used sparingly. Anyone can learn to add humor to their posts, but not many people do, that I’ve noticed, and it’s a mistake!

Make your readers laugh, and you will double their chance of sharing the article (there could be a study to back this up, but likely nobody’s read it because it’s boring).

2. Add in a relevant quote … or seventeen

Quotes are frustrating to me. Some quotes say more than a 1000 word blog post can. But instead of being jealously distant, bloggers are better off using them.

A relevant quote that coincides with your content is a nice break from the paragraph, paragraph, paragraph format. If it’s from a well known author and you’re not as famous, it serves as a credibility boost. You can even throw your own quote in a special box to highlight it.

“Quotes are good.”—Stephen Guise

Tip: Don’t add seventeen quotes to your post unless it is titled “The Seventeen Greatest Quotes From Ernest Hemingway.” Quotes are more powerful individually than in packs, so use them with care.

3. Build anticipation

People love anticipation. If the Summer Olympics were held twice a year, I wouldn’t be so darn excited about them every time. When you read in a blog post’s title that you’re failing to make a key revision to your blog, you want to find out what it is. List posts are filled with anticipation because you wonder what each list item says.

You can claim you have secrets, make promises, reference later parts of the article in the beginning, and structure your article to build to a climax. If you split an article into two parts, part II will have extra anticipation built in automatically. Anything that leaves your readers wondering what’s next is going to add valuable anticipation to your content.

4. Cut out weak content

*scissor sounds*

5. When it doesn’t matter, choose interesting over technical

Sometimes you’ll want to add details, but there are other ways of stating boring data. Pick one…

  • The weather was 97 degrees with humidity at 95%.
  • I walked outside, and my shirt was completely soaked in sweat within two minutes.

See how both convey the same general idea, but the second version is more gross and interesting? Make your blog posts as gross as possible. Who cares if the humidity was 95% or 93%? It is remarkable to drench your shirt with sweat in two minutes and share it publicly. As a bonus, readers wonder what’s wrong with you, which builds anticipation for your next article.

6. Be unpredictable

Six! I wrote six tips after saying I’d write three. That is unpredictable. Nobody has ever promised a number of list items and then delivered more! Oh, they all have? Well, not twice as many. Do this too much, though, and readers will think you can’t count—or they’ll simply adjust their expectations to your chronic lies. My other list posts have been very upfront and honest, so this one is a true surprise.

People are naturally interested in anything they don’t fully understand (Lady Gaga’s brain) or can’t accurately predict (Lady Gaga’s outfit). They’re bored by predictable things (a loaf of bread on the table) and things they already know (the Lions are the best team in the NFL).

Deliver more than you promise or alter your format occasionally to keep readers guessing and interested in what you’ll come up with next.

In addition to “standard” posts, I write two series to mix it up. One is called Opposites! where I advise people to do the wrong things. The other is Mindshift, where I try to give people a concussion teach people how to shift their mindset to a better place.

These series, and my dedication to being weird, do a nice job of keeping my readers on the edges of their mousepads.

A look inside the Blogger Sea

Once you’ve finished your final draft, go back through your work and ask, “how can I make this more interesting to read?” Useful information is ubiquitous, but useful and entertaining information is a rare treasure that readers crave. Applying these “3″ tips will instantly make your content better.

In the Blogger Sea, these techniques will propel you to giant squid status. But if you don’t use them, you’ll be a piece of seaweed. Giant squid are better writers than seaweed because they have more ink (okay … maybe leave this type of humor out of your blog posts).

What sea creature best represents you as a blogger? How do you spice up your posts?

Stephen Guise is an electric eel in the Blogger Sea because his wit is shocking and he likes sea caves. His passion for changing lives through changing minds is painfully obvious at Deep Existence – Personal Development’s Deep End. Humans are permitted to subscribe (no reptiles, NO exceptions) to receive Stephen’s acclaimed book – Stress Management Redefined.